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Definition: pertaining to verse or poetry’s mixture of styles or languages

Pronunciation: say it in the same why you would have described a macaroni dish- ma-ca-RO-nic


The first use of macaronic in the description of poetry took place back in 1610 and pertained to a form of verse mixing vernacular (daily, simple, colloquial) speech with Latin contexts and endings. More generally the word referred to verse containing a mishmash of languages.

Why this word?

Macaronic. Really- this is the only reason and I do not feel others are needed. But, let’s look further into it as I really can’t remember the last time I’ve discussed the word macaroni and its forms.

In the definition section up there, I said that this adjective describes poetic mixtures. But there were times, in which the word macaronic also served to describe hip, cool and dandy people! How did that happen? Well, somewhere in the 17th century, a few Englishmen traveled around Europe and came across this exotic and extra special Italian dish called macaroni. They returned home with that new trend and brought forth the “Macaroni Club” which became a huge success in absolute no time. Assuming the phrase “Oh my! He is so macaronic!” made perfect sense at the time and was actually a good thing, but now, looks like things have changed…

How to use the word macaronic in a sentence?

Here we go back to the original definition rather than the dandy one…

Imagine a macaroni dish- no matter how well the chef made it look- it really is still a mass. Although the original definition has to do with poetry, I think we can feel free to use this great adjective for anything that is mixed, confused or generally contains a variation of styles.

“That film was too macaronic for my subtle taste. At moments I laughed, and then I cried, seconds later I screamed… Like, what was that?  A comedy? A drama? A bad horror film…?”


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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